So you are ready to buy a bin, now what? Choose the size of the hopper? Or maybe the appropriate color for your operation? What about the types of add-ons and customizable features? These are all important questions but cannot be answered until you consider this fundamental question:
Round or Square?
Both types provide many different uses depending on your operation and exact use. For example, a farmer managing a small ranching operation needs to conserve space and would most likely choose a more economical square bin.
In contrast, someone who maintains a large-scale grain elevator and needs bulk storage and self-cleaning capabilities. This would most likely warrant the choosing of a Round Bin.
In order to make the best decision for your investment, you must understand the difference between Square and Round Bins. You may find yourself asking: which one is typically better? The short answer: Both! In other words, there are advantages (and disadvantages) to both bins, it just depends on what you are looking for and how your operation runs.
Here’s a few things to consider.
First, let’s discuss the Advantages of Square Bins:
- Fit More with Less. In comparison, a square bin can hold 27% more materials in the same space than a round bin. For example, in a 12’ x 12’ square bin can hold 1728 cubic feet but in contrast a round bin of the same dimensions can only hold 1357 cubic feet. If space is an issue, then maybe a square bin is the best fit for you.
- Easier to Reach. Another important element to consider is how accessible your bin needs to be and how long of an auger you have. Because square bins are often shorter, they are easier to reach with a standard auger. Choosing a round bin may limit you in accessibility with your current auger and could decrease operational efficiency.
- Multiple-Compartments. Square bins also have the ability of being divided into different compartments. This can be especially helpful if your operation stores many commodities and needs them to be accessible. This may be important if you have a cow-calf operation where you feed range cubes and use DDG for a protein, or maybe you want to store your seed wheat to plant for next fall.
Unfortunately, Square bins are:
- Hard to Clean. With corners on every side, it takes some real scrubbing to clean it completely. Some material cleans better than others so this is important to keep in mind.
- Rust Magnets. Another issue with Square Bins is that they have corners in the hopper that product can easily catch in, and if not cleaned out they will rust the bin out over time, becoming less sturdy. You must keep constant care of your square bins to maintain them in the long-run.
At first glance, it seems as though Square bins are superior to Round; but there are some disadvantages of Square Bins that can be rectified by Round.
Advantages of Round Bins
- Easy to Clean. Since Round Bins do not have corners, the product cannot easily hide or sit in unreachable spots. In fact, some round bins practically clean themselves if fabricated correctly.
- Last Longer. Due to the fact that they clean out better, Round Bins potentially have a longer life span. If you are storing a material that does not flow well or is corrosive, a Round Bin might be the right fit for you.
- Less Costly. Once they reach the size of 2,000 bushel and larger, they cost less per bushel than a square bin does. Actually, the larger the round bin, the less expensive per bushel. This is due to the fact that that it becomes easier and less costly to extend the sidewall with more sections. If you are going for bulk storage, and price is more important to you than space, a round bin could be the right choice.
- Hard to Reach. As was explained earlier, a Round Bin of the same dimension fits 27% less of a product than a Square. For this reasons, a farmer may choose a small square bin if especially focused on efficiency and economy.
- Only One Product. Round Bins lack the ability to store commodities in multiple compartments. With this in mind, the bin would need to cleaned out completely if a new product was stored inside.
These are just a few differences between Round and Square Bins to consider as you discern the best bin for your investment. I hope this helped in understanding which bin type would be the best fit for your growing operation.
What other differences have you noticed? Be sure to comment below.